Inclusive Digital Economy Scorecard

A Tool to Track the Key Components of an Inclusive Digital Economy

The inclusive digital economy scorecard (IDES) is a strategic performance tool developed by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The IDES is a policy tool that governments can use to help set the priorities of their country's digital transformation. It identifies the key market constraints hindering the development of an inclusive digital economy and helps set the right priorities with public and private stakeholders in each country to foster a digital economy that leaves no one behind.

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UNCDF set up a reference group early 2020 to further refine IDES as a measurement tool for policy makers, members of national governments and the private sector. The reference group is comprised of partners from the European Commission, GSMA, UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNDP and UNCDF. The objective of the reference group is to refine the scorecard and its indicators and, more broadly, drive the agenda of the measurement of inclusive digital economies. The results of the first round of discussions was shared with multiple stakeholders at UNCTAD eWeek late April.​

The IDES has three main components

The Digital Economy Score indicates the status of the overall digital economy and its components (enabling policy environment, mobile infrastructure and digital payments, innovation ecosystem and customers skills).

The Digital Inclusiveness Score measures the level of inclusion in the digital economy for key customer segments, such as women, youth, refugees, migrants, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and rural inhabitants.

The Digital Divide Score is the difference between the Digital Economy Score and the Digital Inclusiveness Score. It shows the extent to which the digital economy is exclusive of key customer segments.

The IDES considers the following BUILDING BLOCKS relevant to the development of a digital economy

In the Enabling Policy and Regulation block, the scorecard captures the extent to which the government actively promotes the development of an inclusive digital economy, as well as the policies and regulations in place that support digital finance and the digital economy.

In the Open Digital Payment Ecosystem block, the scorecard quantifies the level of development of mobile infrastructure (e.g., phone ownership and network coverage) and the status of the digital payment ecosystem, including the level of interoperability and the openness of the digital infrastructure for third-party players.

Enabling Policy and Regulation, as well as an Open Digital Payment Ecosystem, form the foundation of an inclusive digital economy. At UNCDF, this foundation is referred to as the ‘digital rails.’ If the digital rails are properly developed, they open avenues for innovation by third-party players and for the use of technology for people’s skill development:

In the Inclusive Innovation block, the scorecard measures the state of a country’s innovation ecosystem. Key elements are the following: the level of development and the synergies within the innovation community; the level of skills held by entrepreneurs in the ecosystem; the presence of supporting infrastructure, such as national and international experts to support entrepreneurs; and, the availability of financing.

In the Empowered Customers block, the scorecard tracks the active participation of the public and private sectors in digital and financial skills development, as well as the usage of digital channels for relevant skills development.

The inclusiveness of the digital economy is measured through a qualitative assessment of the efforts made by the public and private sectors to include specific population segments in the expansion of the digital economy. These segments include women, youth, refugees, migrants, micro-, small‑ and medium‑sized enterprises, and rural inhabitants.

The current version of the IDES is currently piloted in Uganda, Nepal, Solomon Islands and Burkina Faso. It will be further rolled out in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. In each of these countries, UNCDF has a team with extensive digital expertise. The team works closely with the government, the private sector and academia to drive the development of the digital economy. The wealth of market knowledge and the relationships at the national level allow UNCDF to collect the right information from the market, identify key market constraints and develop a roadmap to drive the development of an inclusive digital economy.

The IDES is a central tool of the UNCDF strategy ‘Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era.’ The scorecard is built to support stakeholders to identify and address the key priorities for the further development of their country’s digital economy. Updated on a yearly basis, the scorecard is a strategic tool to measure the development of the market and set priorities based on the dynamic context of the digital era. Besides being an internal tool, UNCDF believes the scorecard will be useful to a global audience of partners and peers, and it actively seeks feedback from partners to improve the scorecard system.

Inclusive Digital Economy Scorecard | 8-country scorecard

About the Scorecard
The scores are on a scale of 0 to 100.

Digital Economy Score: the overall status of the digital economy and its components—the higher the score, the more developed the digital economy.

Digital Inclusiveness Score: the level of inclusion in the digital economy for key customer segments—the higher the score, the more inclusive the digital economy.

Digital Divide Score: the difference between the above two scores, indicating the extent to which the digital economy is exclusive of key customer segments—the higher the score, the more important the digital divide.

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